Maryville head boys basketball coach Mike Kuwitzky rarely had to utter a word of advice to his team Friday night.
The Hounds gave him almost nothing to correct or complain about in the process of destroying short-handed Benton 69-27 at MHS Gymnasium.
As a follow-up to its best win of the year over Smithville the week before, Maryville (16-6, 3-2) played its most complete game of the season, hovering near perfection most of the night in front of a large home crowd.
Maryville started the game on an 18-2 run and developed leads of 31 at the half and 45 in the third quarter before emptying the bench in the fourth.
The 42-point margin of victory was Maryville's largest of the year and gave the Hounds a third straight season sweep of Benton.
"Our guys for the second week in a row were just really focused," said Kuwitzky. "We really had energy in the game against Smithville and the game tonight. When they have energy like that, we can do our stuff really level. I thought the energy level was high. I thought the execution level was high. I thought they were focused They realize there's only two home games left. They realize we're getting toward the end of the season and they realize every game is important. They're adjusting accordingly."
The Hounds produced 66 of their season-high 69 points in the first three quarters, with 18 in the first and 24 in each of the next two.
Over that span, they shot 21-38 (.553) percent and rebounded nine of their 17 misses. Conversely,
Benton went just 9-33 in the first three quarters and a woeful 1-16 from three.
Seven Hounds scored in the game and five contributed at least five points.
Senior guard Jonathan Baker continued his late-season push for all-state consideration, scoring a game-high 26 points in the first three quarters to increase his career total to 1,030—eighth-best in school history. He had 17 of those in the second quarter.
Baker, a recent Northwest Missouri State football signee, was coming off a career-best 34-point night in the win over Smithville.
"I think he's determined to end his career on a positive note," said Kuwitzky. "I think he just wants to have fun, wants to play well and go on a nice little run at the end. We were talking the other day about him being in the 1,000 point club and he goes 'you know what I'm not in is the district championship club. I want that.' That was a great line."
Senior forward Tyler Kenkel finished with 15 points, giving him back-to-back double-figure games.
Starters Treyton Burch, Trent Nally and reserve guard Hagen Snow each had six points. Junior starter Ty Hilsabeck added five.
Baker (three three's) and Snow (two) combined to hit all five of the team's triples.
Benton (5-15) was led by Quin Hayes and Fabian Smith, each with six points.
The Cardinals played without their three main posts—Zach Alder, Macio Harris and Cal Hensley.
"I knew it was going to be tough to win when you're missing your big three, but I at least wanted to be competitive and we clearly were not," said Benton head coach George Ross Jr. "Maryville was doing whatever they wanted to do and we just didn't have a counter."
The Hounds dominated right from the jump, scoring the first four points and then 14 straight after
Benton's first basket to lead 18-2 less than six minutes in.
During that period, Maryville shot 8-13 and had just one empty possession.
The torrid start mirrored the one Maryville had against Benton in a 54-36 win Dec. 7 in St. Joseph when it got out to a 20-2 lead.
This time, the Hounds kept pouring it on.
After losing its edge for a brief period in which Benton scored four straight, Maryville put the game completely out of reach with 19 straight points to lead 37-6.
Baker contributed the first eight points and 15 total to the run while hitting three, three-pointers. Kenkel had the other four points and only a chase-down block prevented him from at least attempting a fast break dunk.
Benton ended its drought with a free throw and Smith hit two shots before the half.
A three-point play by Kyle Leslie and a Baker inbound steal and layup pushed Maryville's halftime lead to 42-11.
"We were afraid what happened last time would happen again, but it didn't" said Kuwitzky. "I just keep thinking here they come. They're going to make their run, but they didn't make that run tonight. We just kept building tonight which was really encouraging."
The Hounds stayed locked in during the third quarter, hitting their first four shots and 9-14 overall.
Baker and Kenkel combined to score the first eight points. Hilsabeck had the next five, beginning a 7-0 run capped by a short bank shot from Baker to make it 57-14.
Snow's first three and a follow from Mitchell Worthington topped Maryville's lead out at 66-21. The quarter ended with the Hounds up 66-23.
None of Maryville's starters played in a fourth quarter shortened by a running clock.
Snow scored Maryville's only points on a wing three.
After back-to-back home wins, the Hounds open the regular season's final week with a road game tonight against Cameron.
Maryville lost to the Dragons 47-44 in the semifinals of the Cameron Tournament back in January.
The two teams could very well meet again the following week in the finals of the Class 3 District 16 Tournament. Cameron drew the No. 1 seed in the district Saturday and the Hounds were seeded second.
"I want to think of it in terms of we want to keep playing well," said Kuwitzky. "I don't want any letdowns in our effort. I just want us to keep getting better and gear up for districts in another week. That's another step in that direction."
By Joey Falkoff firstname.lastname@example.org
The Maryville Daily Forum - Maryville, MO
By Joey Falkoff email@example.com
Updated Feb. 10, 2013 @ 7:56 pm
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